Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Federal Grand Jury Looks at Trump Document Tampering

May 13, 2022

Federal Grand Jury Looks at Trump Document Tampering

In January 2021, when he left the White House, Donald J. Trump sent 15 boxes of presidential documents to Mar-a-Lago instead of the National Archives, as required by law. Many of the docs were marked “Classified” and “Top Secret.” The Archives asked the Department of Justice to investigate the violation. On Thursday, the New York Times reported that a federal grand jury was convened to look into the matter:

“Federal prosecutors have begun a grand jury investigation into whether classified White House documents that ended up at former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida home were mishandled, according to two people briefed on the matter. The intensifying inquiry suggests that the Justice Department is examining the role of Mr. Trump and other officials in his White House in their handling of sensitive materials during the final stages of his administration.”

— “Prosecutors Pursue Inquiry Into Trump’s Handling of Classified Material,” Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

Another grand jury in Atlanta is investigating Mr. Trump’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election there.

More:

“Grand jury used in probe of classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago,” Matt Zapotosky, Jacqueline Alemany, and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

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Putin’s Oligarchs Launder Money in London

April 7, 2022

Oliver Bullough explains how Russian oligarchs launder money in London.

More:

“Boris Johnson claims the UK is rooting out dirty Russian money. That’s ludicrous,” Oliver Bullough, The Guardian

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Mexican Avocado Scare Rocks the Guac Out of USA

February 22, 2022

After a week-long pause, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allowed imports of Mexican avocados to resume on Saturday, replenishing US guacamole reserves exhausted by Super Bowl parties. Imports ceased after a Mexico-based avocado inspector from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) was threatened by crime cartels anxious to pass off Jalisco ‘cados as Michoacán-grown, the only ones currently allowed into the States.

With $3 billion in annual avocado exports, Mexican crime cartels have targeted another US drug of choice, guacamole. Mexico’s avocado growers face cartel extortion and hijackings. The boom crop is also responsible for drought, deforestation, and violence.

While the US has agreed to begin importing avocados from additional Mexican states as their crops are declared pest-free, those harvests will never be crime free.

More:

“United States lifts Mexican avocado ban — averting what could have been a costly crisis,” By María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post

“How the Avocado Became Key to Mexican Drug Cartel Turf War,” Khaleda Rahman, Newsweek

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Trump’s 15 Boxes of Stolen Documents

February 10, 2022

Trump's 15 Boxes of Stolen Documents

The National Archives had to retrieve 15 boxes of presidential documents illegally stolen by former president Donald Trump. At least the archivists got a trip to Mar-a-Lago out of that. During his time in office, Mr. Trump continued his habit of ripping up paperwork and throwing it in the trash or on the floor, and the poor shnooks in the presidential records mangement office had to tape them back together to be forwarded to the National Archives. The Presidential Records Act requires the preservation of memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes and other written communications related to a president’s official duties.

From descriptions, it seems like Mr. Trump ripped up papers he didn’t like (such as a letter from Chuck Schumer), and stole the ones he did, like “love letters” from Kim Jong Un. On the other hand, maybe he destroyed the incriminating papers and swiped the ones that incriminated other people, to use as leverage. After all, Trump’s mentor was Roy Cohn.

More:

“National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of Trump White House Documents From Mar-a-Lago,” Kevin Breuninger, CNBC

“Could Trump be prosecuted for his serial Presidential Records Act violations?” Peter Weber, The Week

“National Archives asks Justice Dept. to investigate Trump’s handling of White House records,” Matt Zapotosky, Jacqueline Alemany, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

“Trump denies flushing documents down White House toilet,” Quint Forgey, Politico

“MyPillow Customer Finds Classified Documents Inside Duvet,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

“Trump’s document destruction isn’t something to paper over or shrug off,” Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

“Republicans Who Railed About Clinton Emails Are Quiet on Trump’s Records,” Lisa Lerer and Katie Rogers, New York Times

“Trump records at Mar-a-Lago clearly marked as classified, including documents at ‘top secret’ level,” Jacqueline Alemany, Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

Updates:

“Archives Found Possible Classified Material in Boxes Returned by Trump,” Reid J. Epstein and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

“US House to investigate whether Trump broke law in handling of documents,” Hugo Lowell, The Guardian

“Trump: Return of documents to Archives viewed as routine and ‘no big deal,'” Joseph Choi, The Hill

“Trump Reportedly Clogged White House Toilet With Flushed Documents,” Inae Oh, Mother Jones

“Trump Flushed the Presidential Honor System Down the Toilet,” Jack Shafer, Politico

Related:

Presidential Records (44 U.S.C. Chapter 22), U.S. National Archives and Record Administration

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GOP: It’s Official, They’re Fascists.

February 7, 2022

GOP: It's Official, They're Fascists.

Meeting in Salt Lake City on Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) passed a resolution declaring that the actions of the Insurrection of January 6, 2021, including the violent attempt to overthrow the elected government of the United States and the defilement of the Capitol building, were “legitimate political discourse.” The resolution (co-authored by Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel) was passed by voice vote, without debate, so individual Republican leaders could avoid personal (and legal) responsibility for this outrage against two centuries of American democratic values. They’re not just fascists, they’re weasels.

More:

“Republican party calls January 6 attack ‘legitimate political discourse,’” Martin Pengelly, The Guardian

“GOP leaders approve resolution that says Jan. 6 was ‘legitimate political discourse,’” Bryan Schott, Salt Lake City Tribune

“G.O.P. Declares Jan. 6 Attack ‘Legitimate Political Discourse,’” Jonathan Weisman and Reid J. Epstein, New York Times

Updates:

“Murkowski criticizes RNC calling Jan. 6 attack ‘legitimate political discourse,'” Caroline Vakil,The Hill

“‘Legitimate Political Discourse’ Is Now an Official Republican Party Description of the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol,” Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone

“McConnell rebukes RNC, calls Jan. 6 ‘violent insurrection,'” Mary Clare Jalonick,  Associated Press

“‘Legitimate political discourse’: Three words about Jan. 6 spark rift among Republicans,” Josh Dawsey and Felicia Sonmez, Washington Post

“McConnell breaks with RNC: Jan. 6 ‘violent insurrection,'” Jordain Carney, The Hill

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Republican Hypocrisy on January 6th

January 6, 2022

Many Republican leaders — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI 8 ) — were horrified by the Capitol attack of last January 6th, and rightly blamed Donald Trump for instigating it. Somehow, they forgot.

A video by the Republican Accountability Project, which will run on Fox News today.

More:

“Republicans Promised to Banish Jan. 6 Insurrectionists. A Year Later, They’ve Purged Jan. 6 Critics,” Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

“Republicans condemned Trump after the Capitol attack. Now, they are opening the door to him as the future of the party.” JM Rieger, Washington Post

Related:

“How Trump Kept His Grip After Jan. 6,” Blake Hounshell and Leah Askarinam, New York Times

Update:

“GOP commemorates denialism day,” David Siders, Politico

 

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January 6th

January 5, 2022

January 6th
America’a red-hatted MAGAheads will be celebrating January 6th, but not as the Feast of the Epiphany (which features swarthy, undocumented Magi immigrants) or as a national day of prayer and mourning for the near-death of American democracy last year. The right-wing paranoid and election-denying alt-right, GOP coup plotters, Proud Boys, QAnon, Boogaloo Bois, Oath Keepers, Trump loyalists, white nationalists and Infowars fanatics and their ilk will commemorate their deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last year, when they attempted to overturn the presidential election, as directed by the election’s clear loser.

The Capitol Police seem more prepared for a lunatic onslaught this January 6th, so there may be decentralized right-wing assaults on other federal, state, and local government buildings and officials. There will certainly be plenty of right-wing attacks on the truth.

More:

“A Roundup of January 6 Anniversary Commemorations in DC,” Damare Baker, Washingtonian

“Right-wing and liberal vigils planned in D.C. on anniversary of Capitol riot,” Ellie Silverman, Washington Post

“At time of Capitol prayer service Jan. 6, Trump will deliver remarks doubling down on the ‘Big Lie,’” David Siders, Politico

“Bannon, Trump to counterprogram Dems for Jan. 6 anniversary,” Jonathan Swan, Axios

Updates:

“Ingraham, Graham talked Trump out of Jan. 6 press conference,” Axios

“Trump cancels Jan. 6 news conference at Mar-a-Lago, blames news media and House committee investigating attack on Capitol,” Felicia Sonmez and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

Related:

“Every Day Is Jan. 6 Now,” New York Times editorial

“A year after Jan. 6 attack, Capitol Hill neighborhood still feels the effects.” Joe Heim, Washington Post

“A look back at Americans’ reactions to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol,” John Gramlich, Pew Research Center

“We’ve reached the ‘Yeah, it was pretty much an attempted coup, so what?’ stage of the Jan. 6 probe,” Aaron Blake, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Arsonist Torches Fox Fake Christmas Tree

December 13, 2021

A homeless man with a Bic lighter set the Fox News Christmas tree on fire last week. Fox is the HQ of fake news, so of course it was a fake tree. The 50-foot-tall tree-shaped object was really a graduated series of metal hoops festooned with green fringe, glass ornaments, and lights. God takes decades to make a 50-foot tree, but Fox put theirs together in 21 hours. Fox faked up a second “tree” 24 hours after the incineration.

Update:

Comedy Central claims Fox News covered the tree torching as “Pine-Eleven.”

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Music: “Christmas Tree On Fire,” written and recorded by Tom Heinl, 2003.

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Maria Butina Elected to Russian Parliament

November 29, 2021

Maria Butina Elected to Russian Parliament

Maria Butina — ex-convictNRA Lifetime Memberunregistered Russian foreign agentAU grad student, Tai Chi fan, GOP sexy-time associate, and deportee — has been elected to Russia’s national legislature, the Duma. She’s not representing her Siberian hometown, but Kirov, presumably because it’s known as the City of Redheads.

While we do not know if she’s been congratulated by her US pals, who include GOP operative Paul Erickson, Trump campaign aide J.D. GordonNRA officials David Keene and Peter Brownell, she did get campaign donations from her American ex-lover, Trump-supporting former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne.

More:

“After 15 Months in U.S. Prisons, She Now Sits in Russia’s Parliament,” Valerie Hopkins, New York Times

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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13 Trump Officals Violated the Hatch Act in 2020

November 10, 2021

13 Trump Aides Violated the Hatch Act in 2020

The federal Office of Special Counsel has found that 13 high-level Trump Administration officals illegally used their government positions for political activities, campaigning for Donald Trump in the 2020 election. In addition to frequent offender Kellyanne Conway (previously caught in 2018 and 2019), the high-level officials include Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, his acting homeland security chief Chad Wolf, his Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, Secretary of Everything Jared Kushner, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House adviser Stephen Miller, White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern, Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short, White House communications director Alyssa Farah, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

The Hatch Act is designed to prevent government officials from using their offices for political purposes, but as the OSC report observes, “the Hatch Act is only as effective as the White House decides it will be. Where, as happened here, the White House chooses to ignore the Hatch Act’s requirements, then the American public is left with no protection against senior administration officials using their official authority for partisan political gain in violation of the law.”

Read the full OSC report here.

More:

“Probe finds Trump officials repeatedly violated Hatch Act,” Jill Colvin, Associated Press

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